If there was one thing we were certain of in Luang Prabang, it was waterfalls. Throughout our trip, everyone we had met that had already been to Laos, had told us about the amazing waterfalls around Luang Prabang.
Whilst looking for a trek to do, we enquired about the waterfalls and which would be the best way to see them. Several tour operators tried to sell us their own tours, which basically meant going in an air conditioned minibus to the waterfall for set amount of time, which seemed very overpriced, however, our friend from the White Elephant Tour office was honest and said, unless we wanted to kayak or cycle on this trip, we should just rent a tuk-tuk and driver for day to take us there.
This seemed like a great idea especially as the cost of it was a lot cheaper than the tour operators. So we headed out to the main road to find a tuk-tuk driver willing to take us out to the waterfalls… Well I say willing, they were all willing, because as soon as you passed a tuk-tuk, they asked if you wanted to go to the waterfalls, and then you negotiate for a price everyone agrees on.
We found a driver and managed to negotiate a decent price for us, but he asked us if we didn’t mind being joined by other people, so that he could make more money for the trip. We didn’t mind and so our driver, with us in the back, went out looking for people to join us for the trip.
He stopped several people, until he found three girls (Two Americans and one Korean) who wanted to join us and were willing to split the tuk-tuk costs. They got in and we made the 30-minute drive to the waterfalls chatting and getting to know each other.
It was at the gate of the waterfall that we realized that very close to the waterfall they had a bear sanctuary. It was a pleasant little surprise, but we had missed feeding time so all we saw were bears sleeping around in hammocks, though they did have some odd bear statues which we decided needed replicating through the medium of photography.
After chilling out with the bears we made our way up towards the waterfalls, which was divided into two sections with a couple of tiers each. The waterfalls were absolutely stunning with each of the pool filled with beautiful turquoise water.
Raquel and dived right in and ended spending most of the three hours in the pools relaxing and watching people swing into pool off a rope tied to one of the trees. It was actually quite fun watching some the youngish guys trying to out do each other with their jumps, clearly trying to impress some of the girls which were there on their own.
Having chilled out for three hours and with rain clouds gathering overhead, we decided to head back to the tuk-tuk as we had arranged a pick-up time with our driver. We found some food stalls and had some food (quite cheap for a place next to a tourist attraction) before being joined by the girls before heading back towards Luang Prabang.
Raquel and I really enjoyed the chill out day at the waterfall and it was a perfect way to relax in preparation for the three days of trekking ahead of us.
This post was based on our day of the 4th of October 2012.
Tuk-tuk to the waterfalls can be negotiated for around $4.5 per person for a tuk-tuk with 5 people, for around 3-4 hours at the waterfalls.
Entrance to Kuang Si Waterfall is $2.5.